Category: Baby Nutrition

Fortifying Almond/Rice Milk with Calcium

I’m looking into making my own Almond Milk and Rice Milk to save a little bit of money.  My biggest concern in making my own is making sure that it has enough calcium for my children (or that I supplement calcium in other ways).  When making almond milk, I am going to use a soy milk maker, though you can also use a blender or VitaMix, you just need to strain the almond/rice pulp out before sweetening and drinking.  I’ll let you know how it goes:)

For 6 cups of Almond Milk, I will use 1/2 c raw almonds + 1/4 c brown rice, soaked for 8 hours first.  I will then add 6 cups of water and process in my soy milk maker.  (If using a blender, blend until milky white and strain pulp.)  To sweeten I am going to add Raw Sugar and a little bit of vanilla, to taste.  I may also add a little bit of salt if I think that it needs it.  If you want to avoid any sugar, there are plenty of other options which I will discuss below.

Naturally Occurring Calcium Content in 1 c of Almond/Rice Milk:  38.08 mg of calcium

(1/2 c of almonds is roughly the same as 2.7 oz. (this is based off of the number of servings in my package of raw almonds).  This would make roughly 216 g of calcium in 6 cups.  The 1/4 c of brown rice will add 12.5 mg of calcium to the 6 cups of milk giving a total of 228.5 mg of calcium in 6 cups of almond/rice milk.)

Options for adding more calcium:

  • If you have calcium supplements (we have chewable), then you can add them to the rice/almond mixture before processing or blending them to add more calcium per cup (add as much as you need to compensate for lack of calcium, or to taste).

  • In trying to find the calcium content of certain items in g/mg, it is a little bit more difficult because many products label calcium as a percentage of the Daily Value rather than the exact mg.  Fortunately, I was able to find out what the recommended Daily Value for Calcium is (according to packages).  It is 1000 mg, so you can adjust your measurements based upon your needs.  Oat groats contain 20 mg per 1/4 c, so if you substitute oat groats for the brown rice (in the recipe above), then you will be able to add a little bit more natural calcium, though not much.  1 c almond/oat milk will give you 39.3 mg calcium.  Oat milk also has a really nice flavor, so I’m definitely going to experiment combining oats and almonds to see what results I can get.

(For more Daily Values, go here:

Options for sweetening almond/rice milk:

  • Although I haven’t tried this, in looking at the chart below, I am very interested in trying to add dried figs and blending them into the almond/rice milk as they have 300 mg of calcium per cup.  I think it’s worth trying to see if it sweetens it nicely.
  • Dried dates also are a great sweetener.  I would soak them in freshly made almond/rice milk (HOT) and then blend them together to form a smooth mixture.
  • Stevia and agave nectar are also other options for sweeteners.

If you have any good almond, rice, or oat milk recipes that you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below and add them:)  According to what I currently spend on Rice and Almond milk each month (I have 6 kids), making my own will save me well over $60 a month.  That’s over $720 a year, and I will know exactly what is going into it, so no cross-contamination!  I’ll post my results later:)


In doing my research, I ran across this chart that lists the calcium content of certain foods (obviously we have to leave out the dairy right now):

Calcium Content of Selected Foods
Dairy and Soy Amount Calcium (mg)
Milk (skim, low fat, whole) 1 cup 300
Buttermilk 1 cup 300
Cottage Cheese .5 cup 65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk .5 cup 100
Sour Cream, cultured 1 cup 250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200 to 400
Yogurt 1 cup 450
Yogurt drink 12 oz 300
Carnation Instant Breakfast 1 packet 250
Hot Cocoa, calcium fortified 1 packet 320
Nonfat dry milk powder 5 Tbsp 300
Brie Cheese 1 oz 50
Hard Cheese (cheddar, jack) 1 oz 200
Mozzarella 1 oz 200
Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp 70
Swiss or Gruyere 1 oz 270


Acorn squash, cooked 1 cup 90
Arugula, raw 1 cup 125
Bok Choy, raw 1 cup 40
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 180
Chard or Okra, cooked 1 cup 100
Chicory (curly endive), raw 1 cup 40
Collard greens 1 cup 50
Corn, brine packed 1 cup 10
Dandelion greens, raw 1 cup 80
Kale, raw 1 cup 55
Kelp or Kombe 1 cup 60
Mustard greens 1 cup 40
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 240
Turnip greens, raw 1 cup 80


Figs, dried, uncooked 1 cup 300
Kiwi, raw 1 cup 50
Orange juice, calcium fortified 8 oz 300
Orange juice, from concentrate 1 cup 20


Garbanzo Beans, cooked 1 cup 80
Legumes, general, cooked .5 cup 15 to 50
Pinto Beans, cooked 1 cup 75
Soybeans, boiled .5 cup 100
Temphe .5 cup 75
Tofu, firm, calcium set 4 oz 250 to 750
Tofu, soft regular 4 oz 120 to 390
White Beans, cooked .5 cup 70


Cereals (calcium fortified) .5 to 1 cup 250 to 1000
Amaranth, cooked .5 cup 135
Bread, calcium fortified 1 slice 150 to 200
Brown rice, long grain, raw 1 cup 50
Oatmeal, instant 1 package 100 to 150
Tortillas, corn 2 85

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, toasted unblanched 1 oz 80
Sesame seeds, whole roasted 1 oz 280
Sesame tahini 1 oz (2 Tbsp) 130
Sunflower seeds, dried 1 oz 50


Mackerel, canned 3 oz 250
Salmon, canned, with bones 3 oz 170 to 210
Sardines 3 oz 370


Molasses, blackstrap 1 Tbsp 135

* When range is given, calcium content varies by product.
* The calcium content of plant foods is varied. Most vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit contain some calcium. Listed are selected significant sources of well-absorbed calcium.

  • USDA database, Handbook 8 palm program
  • Bowes and Church

How Much Do You Need?

Age Calcium (mg)
1 – 3 year old 500 mg
4 – 8 year old 800 mg
9 – 18 year old 1300 mg
19 – 50 year old 1000 mg
51 – 70 year old 1200 mg
> 70 year old 1200 mg
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.
This website is also a great resource for nutrition information on fruits and vegetables!!!

For example, we’re going to have butternut squash (from our garden:)) tonight.  I looked it up on the above website, and one cup of butternut squash has 84 mg of calcium in it!!!  In looking at all of our options, I feel confident that having enough calcium with a well balanced diet will not be a problem.

What solid food can I feed my baby?

Someone asked me what solid food they could feed their babies who were intolerant to milk/dairy. Here’s what I shared with her:

This is a list of foods to introduce to your baby with recommended ages that I got from one of my cookbooks (“Set For Life”):

0 – 6 months – breast milk, formula, or goat’s milk

7-8 months – cereals (brown rice, millet, oatmeal, barley) You can buy the Gerber-type baby cereal and mix it with water and applesauce to flavor it, or you can make your own (healthier, but not fortified with iron). Make the cereal by putting the whole grain into the blender until it’s a fine meal consistency. This cereal cooks in minutes using about a one tablespoon of the grain to one-third cup water.

8-10 months – in addition to the cereals, add vegetables and fruits, such as: squash, carrots, potatoes, green beans, peas, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, applesauce (unsweetened), bananas, peaches, pears, etc. These items are easy to cook up and mash or puree in the blender. I’ve also tried Cheerios later on as a finger food, and my babies have loved chewing and sucking on them with no problems.

10-11 months – add cooked eggs and legumes (NOTE: My oldest son was allergic to both eggs and milk, so if you are worried about that, then wait to introduce the eggs until you see an allergist or until they are 1 year old.) Black beans might make a nice finger food. Just rinse, heat, and serve, otherwise, mash up to a fine consistency.

11-12 months – add lean meats (cut up really small or pureed) and bread, cubed or diced

A few things that we did were when my kids were old enough, I gave them little bits of what we were eating for dinner (provided you are making dairy-free dinners). If we had steamed veggies, then I pureed some for them or let them try a couple of peas. If I had chicken, then I would puree or cut up a little bit for them to try (when they were older or could chew okay). To grind foods up quickly, I used a baby food grinder (like this: That said, a blender or food processor can work just as well, just add a little bit of water if it’s dry. You could also try brown rice on the side either ground up or see how they do. I have some free recipes (like a dairy-free chocolate cake for the 1st birthday:)) on my website: and also on my blog.

As far as the teething biscuits go, I found these recipes, but haven’t tried them yet:

Although I love whole wheat, I would wait until your babies are 1 year old before introducing it if you are worried about other food allergies. Stick with oats and rice. The same goes for strawberries, peanuts, honey, fish, etc.

Here are a few “meal” ideas that you could let them taste as soon as they are old enough or can chew well enough:

Chicken with rice and steamed veggies (make sure you flavor your chicken dairy-free or just salt and pepper theirs…you can boil the chicken and it will be tender.)
Cooked Macaroni Noodles with tomato-based spaghetti sauce and hamburger (you may have to cut this up; also the tomato sauce is a little bit acidic, so you’ll have to see how they do. You could also offer plain pasta cut up very small.)
Oat pancakes with blueberry syrup (diced really small to try as a finger food. If you’re worried about wheat allergy, then use white flour. If you don’t have oat milk available, you can use rice milk or make your own.)
Turkey (cut up small) with peas and a baked potato, mashed up
Chicken ‘n rice soup (you’d have to make sure that everything is cut up really small, or puree it in the blender)
Chicken Pot Pie (a little more of a complex meal)
Shepherd’s Pie (another more complex meal)

Your babies will be just fine with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. They really don’t need anything complicated at this point. Just try adding a new food every week and see how they do. Good luck!!!


A new chapter

Over the last few weeks, I have seen a remarkable difference in my baby. We have been able to take her off of all of her medication for reflux. I have also tried little bits of dairy (yogurt, cheese – occasionally) and thus far she has been fine. She no longer screams all day and I have been able to meet her needs better. I am so grateful for this change in her temperament. I am still off of all soy products (allergic), however, I have tried soy lecithin, soy oil, and soy sauce with no adverse reactions. I really like using Rice Milk and Oat Milk and like baking some things with Almond Milk. Since Earth Balance has the soy protein in it, we have switched to using Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine (dairy-free) as well as Smart Balance Light. I also heard that Smart Balance Organic is dairy-free, so I’ll have to keep a look out for that to try it out. We had a great Halloween (too much candy…) and are looking forward to the fall/winter holidays:) I’ll post what we did for Halloween to keep it safe!!!

Dairy-free While Nursing

With the arrival of our sixth baby, I am once again going completely dairy-free while I nurse her. I am hoping that this will help her with her gassy symptoms as well as decrease her chances of a severe milk allergy like her older brother has (this is not proven, but I have friends who have had much success). In addition to going dairy-free while nursing, I’m also using Mylicon drops as needed as well as Little Tummies gripe water. Both seem to be helping her colicky symptoms tremendously. I have found it quite easy going dairy-free this time as I pretty much cook dairy-free all the time anyway for my other children. That said, I have found a new love in Rice Dream original flavor for my cereal. I much prefer it over soy milk right now and love adding blueberries and walnuts or pecans on top of my cereal. We made homemade pizza the other night and I barely even missed the cheese. I added extra sauce and lots of toppings to compensate. (I don’t miss the extra calories either:)). I love using the grill this time of year to grill garden vegetables and discovered a pumpkin cake that is just heavenly! (My mother-in-law created the recipe as she was experimenting with the ingredients that we had on hand in the house. So moist! I’ll have to post the recipe next month on my website Although I miss ice cream (have to get some Soy Ice Cream or Cuties on hand…), overall eating dairy-free has been just fine and I am happy to make the sacrifice if it will help my little baby. For a quick list of menu ideas that are dairy-free, visit this section of my blog:

Dairy Allergy Signs, Symptoms, and ingredient listings

Dairy allergy, or milk allergy, refers to any allergic reaction
caused by a component of cow’s milk. The three
components of cow’s milk that cause dietary reactions are
casein protein, whey protein, and lactose sugar. Casein and
whey are considered more likely to cause true allergies,
while lactose causes a well-known intolerance in many
adults (and some children) due to the body’s lack of an
enzyme known as lactase.

Similar components to cow’s milk are found in the milk of other
ruminants, including goats and sheep, so any patient with a dairy
allergy who is considering using other animal milk as a substitute
for cow’s milk should talk to their allergist before proceeding.

Dairy allergies may appear with a wide variety of symptoms,
including hives (urticaria), eczema, chronic congestion, and
diarrhea. Lactose intolerance, like many other dietary intolerances,
causes gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating, cramping, and
diarrhea. As always, if you suspect you or your child has a food
allergy, contact your physician.

Because dairy allergies are especially prevalent among babies,
parents with atopic families – that is, families with a history of
severe allergies – should discuss feeding options with their
pediatricians before delivery, if at all possible. There is some
evidence that nursing exclusively until six months and delaying the
introduction of solid foods until that time can help prevent the
development of allergies. Bottle-feeding families have a few
options for feeding infants who either have dairy allergies or are
considered to be at high-risk for developing them. The preferred
option, especially in families with a history of eczema, is formula
that is hydrolyzed, meaning that the proteins have been processed
to break them down. These formulas are often preferred to soy
because soy itself is a common allergen and hydrolyzed formula is
tolerated by more babies. Your doctor will help you select the
appropriate formula. Insurance can help defray the high costs.

“Butter, butter fat, butter oil, buttermilk, artificial butter flavor,
casein, caseinates (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium,
sodium) cheese, cream, cottage cheese, curds, custard, Ghee, Half
& Half, hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey
protein), lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactoglobulin,
lactose, lactulose, milk (derivative powder, protein, solids, malted,
condensed, evaporated, dry, whole, low-fat, milkfat, non-fat,
skimmed, and goat’s milk) , nougat, pudding, rennet casein, sour
cream, sour cream solids, whey (in all forms including sweet,
delactosed, protein concentrate), yogurt, malted milk. The
following may contain milk products – flavorings (natural and
artificial), luncheon meat, hot dogs, sausages, high protein flour,
margarine, Simplesse ®”
safety/allergingred.htm Cheese, butter, yogurt, cream, kefir, sour
cream, and ice cream, unless specifically formulated to be dairyfree,
always contain milk. Milk is also present in many types of
processed food. Processed foods that are likely to contain dairy
products include chocolate, salad dressings, pastries, snack foods
with butter or cheese flavorings (even if they’re artificial), soups,
and even canned tuna and deli meats. As with any food allergy,
never eat any processed food unless you have read the label, and
always be aware of cross-contamination risks from utensils or
surfaces where dairy products may have been prepared.

Dairy is one of the eight most common allergens in the United
States, and as such, current food labeling laws require that the
presence of milk be clearly marked on ingredient labels. However,
it’s best to learn the myriad names dairy products appear on in
labels. While FDA laws require that the presence of milk be
marked in plain English, it’s safest to rely on that in conjunction
with your own knowledge of dairy-containing ingredients.

Lactose intolerance symptoms can be prevented, at least
temporarily, by replacing the lactase enzyme the body lacks. This is
done in one of two ways: through dietary supplements, which are
available over-the-counter, or by adding lactase directly to dairy
products. The latter is how lactose-free milk is made.

You’ll find substitutes for milk products in many supermarkets and
health-food stores. Always check these for the presence of dairy,
however; some may include traces of milk and thus be unsuitable
for someone with allergies. With that caveat, try the many milk
substitutes on the market for baking, drinking, and cooking. Soy
milk, rice milk, and nut milks are but a few of the varieties
available, and each has different properties. Rice milk is low in
protein (so it acts quite differently than cow’s milk in baking) but
has a mild taste; in its vanilla flavor it is delicious on cereal and
good for drinking plain. Soy milk and nut milks have a stronger
flavor and can work well in baked goods. Milk has a somewhat
outsized reputation as a nutritional powerhouse. However, with
planning, you can easily replace the nutrients in milk. Be especially
aware of calcium, protein, and vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are
found in abundance in dairy products.

Information taken from:

More ear infections…

After seeing the improvement with my second son and his ear infections, I decided to try the experiment on my fourth son. He also had a history of ear infections. They wanted to do surgery when he was two and then again at three, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go through that again. Especially since it didn’t seem to help his brother long term. As I was deciding on what to do, I got the advice about the connection between ear infections and milk allergy from the ENT for his older brother. So I thought, “What would it hurt to take both of them off all dairy?” My three year old has not had an infection since.

One interesting thing is that my parents babysat for me and gave him pizza. The next morning he woke up screaming holding his ear and saying that it hurt. I did some research that stated that milk can cause extra mucus when you drink it. It makes sense to me that if my boys ears don’t drain very well and if they get extra mucus in there, that it will eventually get infected. When I went to an allergist for my fourth asking about the connection between milk allergy and ear infections, he said that it was just a coincidence that his ear hurt after having had the pizza.

Whether or not there is any connection, my boys are now all dairy-free…as well as ear infection free:)